Low-wage workers in the city say Gov. Cuomo’s plan to give them $2.75 more per hour could add up to some real change in their life.
“Wow! That would be a big difference,” said Lupe Briones, 42, of Brooklyn, who works as a cashier for $8.75 an hour at the Nathan’s Famous in Manhattan’s Staten Island Ferry Terminal.
Briones said Cuomo's initiative to raise the minimum from the current $8.75 to $11.50 per hour in the city would help her stretch her paycheck.
“Especially for my rent, and things like gas, electricity. My phone bill,” said the Dyker Heights resident.
Cuomo said Monday that raising the minimum wage is part of his civil rights agenda. The state’s new base pay rate will be “the highest minimum wage in the United States of America,” said the governor, who on Sunday proposed hiking the hourly rate to $11.50 in the city and $10.50 in the rest of the state.
Right now, New York’s minimum wage is the eighth highest in the country.
Cuomo’s initiative will need the approval of the state Legislature, where it may face a strong challenge from Republican lawmakers. Currently, state law calls for the minimum wage to climb to $9 an hour by the end of this year.
Muhammad Daniel, who fills coffee cups and works the cash register for $8.75 an hour at a Dunkin Donuts in lower Manhattan, was delighted to hear of a potential hike.Alec Tabak/for New York Daily News Gov. Cuomo's proposal would make the state's base pay rate 'the highest minimum wage' in the country.
“That’s unbelievable,” said Daniel. “Here, surviving is not too easy. It’s good, $11.50 is good. But it would go to just paying bills, that’s it. I have two kids and you know, milk is $4.25.”
Some workers say $11.50 doesn’t go quite far enough, especially in such an expensive city.
“Right now, if I get paid on one day, by the next two days I'm broke,” said Shantel Walker, 31, who lives in Bedford- Stuyvesant, Brooklyn, and works at a Papa John’s near her home.
She makes $9 an hour making pizzas and answering phones, and said an extra $2.50 an hour would buy her rides on the subway and help her save for some new clothes.
"We all work hard and we all are taxpayers. We want to work hard to have a decent life ? and a fair shot at life. That's why I feel like this is a step in the right direction, but we have to still raise the bar," Walker said.
With Jennifer FerminoNew York City Lovett: Cuomo holds most cards in plan to increase min. wage Cuomo will urge panel on salary raises for state legislators